This year for the first time in a while there seems to be some new Christmas or winter seasonal beers on the shelves. At the very least they are new to me. Instead of filling numerous posts I'm combing my thoughts on a few of these beers. They'll be more of these in the next couple of weeks as I make my way through as many as I can. This is my favorite season for beers because so many beer during this time are cellar worthy as are each of the ones I'm posting about today.
Ommegang Adoration Ale: A Belgian Style Christmas ale from one of the best American brewers of belgian ales. This one has been around for a few years but its the first time I think its been available in Houston in bottles. A 10.% beer brewed with spices like coriander, cardamom, Mace, and grains of paradise. The beer pours a chestnut brown with a thick taupe colored head. Malty, fruity, spicy on the nose. I can smell cardamom and coriander. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Flavors of sweet malt, figs, prunes, candied oranges, fruit cake. Spicey, chewy, dark bread, dark fruit. As it warms qualities of scotch show up. Sweet but finishes dry. A very gog complex beer to sit in front of a warm fire with on a cold winter night. An A- from me.
Duvel Triple Hop: While not a true seasonal like others its been released around this time so I included it in this round up. Its your traditional Duvel recipe kicked up a bit. It weighs in at 9.5% and is brewed with Saaz, Amarillow, and Styrin hops, then again dry hopped with Styrin. It pours a pale golden color as expected with a thick pillowy white head of foam. The nose is of pale toasted malts, spicey yeasts. Medium mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, slightly sweet toasted malts, spicey and floral, yeasty bready notes. Letting it warms helps to bring out notes of pears and apples. A great beer that does great honor to the Duvel tradition. An A grade.
Gulden Draak Vintage Ale 2010: A vintaged version of the popular Gulden Draak Belgian age. Weighing in at 7.5% it pours a hazelnut brown with a thick dense head of taupe colored foam. Malty caramel notes on the nose. Brown sugar. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, god carbonation. Notes of Raisins, sweet caramel, malts, a slight hop bitterness. Carbonation is high giving this dark beer an effervescence. Notes of cherry as the beer warms, yeasty notes, figs. Spicey. A good beer that gets a B+ from me.
Golden Carolous Noel: We finish this round up as we started: A Belgian Style Christmas ale, except this time from an actual Belgian Brewery. This one weighs in at 10.5% and pours a rich copper color with a dark taupe colored head. Malty and spicey on the nose. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good level of carbonation. Flavors of sweet malt, spice, Christmas bread, candied sugar. Dark fruits, raisins figs, rich, rich, malt. Ginger bread, sprucy, slightly sweet. This beer tastes like Winter, it tastes like Christmas. If someone asked me to think of a scene to compare this beer to it would be traipsing through a snow covered forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree, then back at a cabin by a fire sipping on a fine beer. In a nutshell that's what this beer is. This may be my new favorite Christmas beer. A strong go out and get this grade of A from me.